You see... when you start writing a novel, you haven't a clue about how to write. Or you have a clue. But you know what they say. A little bit of knowledge might just be enough to kill you.
So what's a new kid to do? You research the craft, of course. That's probably why you're even here, reading this blog. You want to learn from others.
And let me say one thing. The blogging community is a great place to learn. No one here is really here to make money on their writing wisdoms. (Their books, on the other hand... hint hint. Nudge nudge.)
But the people in this community is so generous with information. This, my dear friends, is a blessing and a curse at the same time.
If you're like me and you have an excellent sense of who you are and what you're trying to achieve, it's a blessing. Because if you search long enough, you'll find what you're looking for.
You guys who are a bit less specific don't have it so lucky, though. It's sort of like walking into a writing library and asking for a writing book.
The librarian will just keep stacking books until you're buried.
And I've seen it again and again in blogs and comments.
"I enjoyed writing up to this point. But there are so many conflicting rules to it that I don't know how I'm supposed to write right."
Sound like you? Yeah... thought so.
You there... the tiny little thing in the corner who gave up on writing because you read too much advice and don't know how to write any more. This message is for you.
First, I have a list of questions that you need to answer me. Give me all the right answers, please. Do you...
- Write in the morning or at lunch?
- Squeeze in bits of writing every chance you get? Or do you block off hours of writing uh... let me venture to say... joy?
- Require a road map in your writing or do you make it up as you go along?
- Write every day or when inspiration strikes?
- Pen or keypad?
- If pen. Blue pen or black?
- If keypad... Comic Sans or Times New Roman?
- Muse or no muse?
- Character driven or plot driven?
Yes kids, the veterans are cat-calling for a reasons. These are trick questions.
The answers are all correct. So yeah. Your approach to writing is highly personal. And you have absolute carte blanche about how you write.
But the point is that you have to find what works for you. And only you.
You're not J.K. Rowling. You're not J.R.R. Tolkien. You're not Danielle Steele. You're not going to write like them. Because odds are, your personalities differ.
You are the person who knows what works for you. So stick with what you know works. Even if, in my opinion, you're the insane person who plots all the way to the end in *shudder* blue ball point pen.
I'm the insane person known for writing entire drafts in black fountain pen ink. See?! Look at some of the vets shivering. Thankfully, they're too nice to call me nuts.
But you know why it's okay? Because the only way to write a book is the way you write to get the project finished.
The point? Once you know your method, you can find what's niggling. And then you go researching to find a solution to that niggle. Anything else, you're welcome to disregard.
Even when it's my excellent advice.
So, vets... Why don't you do me a favor and answer me the questions listed above? New kids, do the same. It'll help you a great deal, I think, asserting yourself and your method.